UPDATE: As expected, Rogue Ameoba's Airfoil Touch has been approved, with the original graphics displayed from Mac OS X. Meanwhile, Gx5 tells us it took over a year to get their one-touch search portal app, iClueless approved following a string of rejections (arguably some warranted, but still incredibly time consuming given Apple's process). Again we wonder if having a "big voice" makes a big difference?
ORIGINAL: Apple Senior VP of Marketing, Phil Schiller, has once again stepped forward to address growing concerns about the iTunes App Store approval process -- but this time he's avoided developers and their complaints about opacity and inconsistency, and instead gone to BusinessWeek to get ahead of the story going mainstream.
Let's think about this for a moment. Schiller's previous, highly publicized comments have been emails addressed to bloggers and Mac developers, and wrung truthy enough to give a tiny glimmer of hope to those who just assumed Apple's upper management was oblivious to the problems around rejected apps. These comments read more like spin; like instead of fixing the App Store, they're worried concerns are spreading beyond developers and the blogsphere, and instead of earnestly working even harder to fix them, they just want to minimize and marginalize the complaints in the minds of the general press and public, who might be hearing about it for the first time following Facebook developer Joe Hewitt's high-profile exodus from the App Store.
The problem is, Apple has historically proven they're terrible at handling bad PR. From the original iPhone price cut to MobileMe's disastrous launch to Steve Jobs' health to everything involving the App Store approval process to date, they come off as wrong-headed and out of touch until it seems almost too late. Case in point, Schiller's comments to BusinessWeek today, where he cites 90% of rejections being related to technical bugs in the app (and contends developers are happy about the "safety net" Apple QA provides). 1% which fall into gray areas Apple hadn't previously considered (example given, apps that help cheat at Casino gambling), and an undisclosed amount that violate trademarks or copyrights: